Writer's Therapy #3 - What's your process?

in #writing4 years ago

How do you like to write? If you're like me (and let's face it, who isn't? amirite?) life tends to get in the way. Well maybe not life so much as shit--shit tends to happen, and certain things get pushed out. In my case it was writing. I didn't have a particular writing process. I tended to sit down at a laptop when the spirit moved me (note: no regular writing discipline) and write. When it flowed...how to describe that sweet, sweet feeling. When it didn't...well, let's just say back then I would rather have tried to pass a watermelon-sized kidney stone than to force words onto the page.

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People have different writing processes, and the more difficult you make it for yourself, the harder it can be to keep writing when life gets in the way. If your process demands you only write on massaged lacewing papyrus during the full moon with one foot in a bowl of warm vinegar, it's not going to be easy to get in the zone.

It was hard to get into my happy place. My process had to change.

So I spend about 40 minutes a day commuting. By Tokyo standards that's not much. Most people here spend between 80 minutes to 2 hours commuting door-to-door, with most of that on trains or buses. For me, it's now the bus. Sounds like I have 40 minutes of comfortable writing time every day, right?

Well, here's a picture of what it's like on my bus (this isn't my bus, but every time I look at this picture I get a heart rate boost because it looks exactly like it, only my bus is far more crowded than this).

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With barely any standing room and less chance of a seat, what do I do? I've taken to using my mobile phone to write on. It took me a while, but now I'm chugging along quite happily. A combination of Google docs, Scrivener and Dropbox is my favorite combination. Scrivener for writing, Dropbox for syncing and Google docs for editing.

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Scrivener is a topic that tends to divide the writing community, and those who love it tend to wax on about it like evangelists. I'm not going to do that (this time), but I may do a post on what I like (and what I don't like) and how I am using Scrivener some other time. What's working for me right now, is that I can write anywhere, and have it all syc up on any device. No matter whether the moon if full, the vinegar is warm or the papyrus has been properly massaged. Now I have a disciplined writing schedule and have made it easy on myself. I highly recommend not waiting until the spirit moves you.

So the solution for me may not be the solution for you, but this has allowed me to write thousands of words, hanging off a swinging strap on a crowded Tokyo bus. If that's not the writing life, what is?


Thanks for stopping by! If you have a favorite writing tool or your own massaged earwax paper process, let us know in the comments.


i tried to read/write in bus/train but its hard for my eyes- tiring too fast . Usually i prefer to write at morning while i have a lot of power or at night before sleep, because at night i got some thought while im almost asleep and its good time to write it down :) may be its something like meditation state for me.

Writing before I sleep is also something I've started to do recently. I'm getting some really strange dreams! Does that happen to you too? Mornings are also good, but I'm usually too busy. So I'm learning to zone out the noise and write on the bus.

its all depends usually i dont have a weird dreams, so all good for me :) at Morning usually im trying to free 1 hour to plan my work/day or write something , before all work and computer :) Because if im in computer or mobile phone there is many disturbing things and its hard to focus . Sometimes i use strategy of no internet in computer it helps me to create video and texts content :) you can try this technique too ;)

I really need to try that technique. So many distractions. That's a great suggestion!

My writing technique seems to involve filling multiple notebooks & juggling running out of paper and pens. I've resorted to writing on paper grocery bags in the past. Do not recommend for textural reasons. Usually the more inspired I am, the harder it is to find those items & I give up, frustrated. (Bic pens are my nemesis)

My phone is my only writing device & I'm struggling. I miss Scrivener & despite barely getting to use it, I'm definitely guilty of waxing poetic about it in the past.

When I write with a keyboard I seem to go slack jaw & only use one eye. It's super flattering as you can probably imagine, but I'm usually so delighted I got that into the zone that hopefully I'll be alright with the crazy monster face wrinkles I'll get eventually.

Definitely have to find a way that works, it's awesome you were able to. That commute is no joke, I don't know how people handle being jammed so tight without losing their shit!

@largelyuseless, I think we should form a society against Bic pens. I cannot stand them. They never seem to work. I also like writing by hand, but I know I am more efficient at a keyboard. But the learning for me was that the real efficiency is in actually writing something and if all you have is a phone and an elbow-sized chunk of air between someone's left buttock and someone else's armpit (sorry...anatomy is not my subject) then it's best to use it rather than wait until you get home where your comfortable set up is.

The commute is bad, but it's been a lot worse. I used to have to commute an hour on two of the most crowded lines in Tokyo and my office forced us to do it during peak commute time. Was not a happy camper. This 20 minute bus ride is like heaven in comparison.

I'm so glad it's so much shorter!
And yeah, Bic pens make me feel as if I've paid to throw away someone else's garbage.

I'm definitely way better with a keyboard, but mine is sadly in storage. Someday! Hopefully before my paper writing mountain consumes me. :P

Just beware of fires, termites and potential suffocation risk (if the mountain decides to move). ;-)

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No wonder you write so well under pressure when that's your "normal." So glad it isn't me.... I used to write in college classes back when I Was in school. Silly profs probably thought I was writing down their every word. Now I seem to write at all sorts of weird and inconvenient times.

Indeed, it is not an easy task to write and make it a habit (which I am still working on). Sometimes, I was like out of 'steem' to do it. I do think that was pure procrastination, but mentally tired after work was something I need to face and recalibrate.
I also prefer to write during night time with less distraction. Morning time will be listing all my daily to-do-tasks and get myself a cup of coffee! haha.
Anyway, thanks for your post too, I get more perspective on how others are doing.

I used to write non fiction OK on hideously overcrowded Aussie public transport, not that you can compare that with Japan's overcrowded buses and trains, but fiction may well require two feet in a foot spa and a cocktail with tropical fruit and a paper umbrella

How weird is that? I was looking for writing tools last night and began looking at Scrivener. Saw something similar called Novel Factory that looks interesting. Will trial them both. Could be useful.

I like to write after sitting with my girlfriend

I mean...that sounds nice. :-) Whatever gives you inspiration, man. Go with it.

That's really great man ;)

I always found thinking about things in general, anything really, while having a hot shower and relaxing before hitting the writing was a big help for me. I am constantly thinking though and would just wait for something to hit me. Or when I was writing about something, I could have ideas come to me and I would write and write and see what would or wouldn't work.

I saw an item in a product testing video the other day that had both waterproof paper & a pencil for writing in the shower. It was tempting, so tempting. It even erased!

Oh wow, that is so cool! That would be so handy as well.

This post has received a 0.63 % upvote from @drotto thanks to: @banjo.

Great. Thanks for sharing. I'm starting to follow you.

thanks for spamming im starting to flag you :) why you just copy paste to all same message? seems spammer

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